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Port Arthur mayor closes playgrounds, urges social distancing on Easter

Mayor Bartie says changes necessary to prevent COVID-19 from spreading

PORT ARTHUR, Texas — Port Arthur mayor Thurman Bartie says he is closing down city playgrounds, basketball courts and golf courses to prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

Bartie says that city parks will remain open, but anyone using the parks should still maintain a 6-feet distance from others. 

Signs have been posted at some playgrounds. The new declaration from the mayor means that no city-owned recreational venues will remain open. 

Anyone found violating these orders can be fined up to $2,000. 

Mayor Bartie also made a plea for people to continue social distancing on the Easter weekend. He is strongly discouraging in-person worship services, and the mayor says he hopes most churches will provide virtual experiences instead. 

Credit: AP Images

Bartie says that if you do need to go out in public, you should use face coverings and wear gloves. 

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"The reason being is that, if this slow down the spread of the infection, then it's worth having the gloves on and also having on the mask," Bartie said. 

The mayor says that city departments are functioning, but some offices, including the Port Arthur Municipal Court, is closed so that they can be disinfected. 

City Manager Ronald Burton echoes the same the same measures Bartie is communicating. 

"If we can isolate ourselves in our homes, and limit the amount of people who come into contact with each other, in the workplace, I think we stand a better chance of winning this battle," Burton said.


Reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death for confirmed coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases, the CDC says.

These symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath


Clean your hands often

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

Avoid close contact

Stay home if you’re sick

Cover coughs and sneezes

  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow.
  • Throw used tissues in the trash.
  • Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, clean your hands with a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

Clean and disinfect

  • Clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.
  • If surfaces are dirty, clean them: Use detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.